Tips on Travelling With Baby
Don’t let the thought of air travel with your baby intimidate you! It can be a wonderful experience and once you do it, you’ll never look back.
Here are a handful of useful tips to help you plan (and survive) your first vacation with baby in tow:
What to do about feeding
Whether you’re nursing, using formula or venturing into solid foods, feeding your baby on an airplane isn’t a problem, as many of the restrictions placed on other passengers aren’t applicable to families travelling with small children. In fact, CATSA (Canadian Air Transport Security Authority) rules allow parents travelling with an infant under the age of two to travel with as much baby food, milk, formula, water and juice as you need.
If your baby is on formula, pack bottles filled with water and enough formula to last you the length of the flight. Don’t forget to pack an extra 1-2 servings of formula as delays during take-off or flight cancelations may require that you have a few extra bottles on hand. Worried about transporting and storing breastmilk? Don’t be! Cold packs are permitted on-board to keep milk at a safe drinking temperature.
What to do about sleep
If your infant is under the age of two, they’re going to enjoy most of their naps on your lap. That being said, many aircrafts are now outfitted with bassinets for newborns, the weight and length restrictions of which vary by airline, but normally hover somewhere between 20 – 30 lbs.
Do your research ahead of time to see if a bassinet would be appropriate for your baby and book early to secure the seat. If you don’t get a bassinet, talk to the attendant prior to boarding and ask if there is any way you can move into a row with an empty seat.
What to do about germs
From crawling across the airport floor to being seated next to someone battling cold symptoms, there’s no way to avoid exposure to germs, wherever you fly. There are, however, things you can do to keep the spreading of germs to a minimum and that includes keeping both your hands clean – and theirs!
Since you can’t always wash before your baby decides to use your finger as a teething toy, be sure to pack a well-stocked pile of wipes. From sanitizing grubby hands to cleaning soothers that have been tossed on the sidewalk, over and over again, it’s wipes to the rescue.
What to pack for baby
Lists make everything more manageable, don’t they? Here is an essential items checklist, to walk you through what to pack in your carry-on for travel with baby:
- Passport and ticket
- Diapers, diaper cream, wipes and a travel change pad (most aircrafts have change tables on board but a protective barrier never hurts)
- Extra layers (sweater, jacket, hat) and 2 change of clothes (onesies)
- 2-3 Blankets (for spit up, and/or for use as an additional layer as required)
- Prepared bottles filled with breastmilk or water plus formula powder packaged separately as required
- Age appropriate snacks (rice crackers, animal crackers, squeezable pouches of fruits and veggies)
- Pacifier or bottle to help your baby equalize the cabin pressure during take-offs or landings (you can also breast feed)
- 1-2 favourite toys and at least 1 new toy (distractions are a great way to buy yourself some time on a long-haul fight)
- Tablet or other device loaded with favourite movies, activities or songs
- Sleepy time companion (stuffed animal or blanket)
- Soothers (in case of emergency)
- Medication for relief of fever and in case of allergic reactions on-board
Remember to always pack more than you think you need to account for delays, cancelations and time you’ll spend at the airport prior to take-off and after landing.
What to do when your baby cries (it’s going to happen)
Babies cry for any number of reasons, none of which should deter you from taking to the skies. You are not the first person to travel with an unhappy baby and you definitely won’t be the last. A screaming baby might annoy some, but fellow parents in particular will empathize with crying fits, meltdowns or struggles you may encounter along the way.
Be kind to yourself. Try to identify why your baby might be upset and do what you can to calm them. Are they hungry? Over-tired? Over-stimulated? In need of a diaper change? If you think it would help, don’t be afraid to get up and walk up and down the aisles. Changing the environment can be good for both of you, help you to re-group and stay calm.
You’ve got this! Now that you’re well-equipped to tackle family travel, grab your passport and ready yourself – and baby – for the adventure of a lifetime.